International Friendly Preview: France - Serbia
Laurent Blanc's men hope to put their defensive frailties to bed against the Serbians in Reims, after coming from behind and narrowly edging out Iceland 3-2 on Sunday.
By Mohammed Ali
Reveilliere, Koscielny, Rami, Clichy
A. Diarra, M'Vila
Valbuena, Martin, Malouda
Basta, Ivanovic, Subotic, Tosic
Tosic, Djuricic, Kolarov
France will ring the changes again in Thursday's international friendly against Serbia in Reims. A number of the players who didn't feature, or came off the bench in the 3-2 victory over Iceland on Sunday should get their chance to perform, having made the 23-man cut.
Yoann Gourcuff and Montpellier's title-winning captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa were the unlucky duo to have been omitted from the preliminary squad as attention now turns to final preparations.
The back four was notoriously suspect against the Nordic nation on Sunday, with Philippe Mexes and Patrice Evra shouldering much of the criticism that allowed Lars Lagerback's side to take a 2-0 lead in Valenciennes. Neither should start, with deputies Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy expected to stake their claim.
Midfielder Yann M'Vila was rested, as was goalkeeper Hugo Lloris,and both are set to regain their places. Olivier Giroud starred in his cameo, coming off the bench to assist two goals and could get the nod ahead of Karim Benzema, with Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena and Chelsea's Florent Malouda offering the support from the flanks.
Serbia has been thrown into fresh controversy with the revelation that Fiorentina midfielder Adem Ljajic has been dropped by new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic for failing to sing the national anthem before the 2-0 defeat to world and European champion Spain.
A number of key players have been left out of the White Eagles squad, including Milos Krasic, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Nenad Milijas, Milan Jovanovic, Miralem Sulejmani and Nikola Zigic. Siena's Zeljko Brkic is in line to gain his sixth cap in goal, ahead of Tavriya Simferopol's Damir Kahriman, who started against Vicente del Bosque's men.
Alongside the likes of Branislav Ivanovic and Neven Subotic, Ligue 1 stars such as Pavle Ninkov and Milan Bisevac could also feature.
|DID YOU KNOW|
France is undefeated in 19 games, and was last beaten by Belarus in September 2010 in the team's first competitive game under Laurent Blanc.
- Les Bleus came back from 2-0 down to beat Iceland 3-2 in Sunday's friendly, the first time they had conceded two goals since a 2-1 defeat to Norway in Aug. 2010.
- France beat Serbia 2-1 in a World Cup 2010 qualifier, Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka bagging the goals the last time the two nations met on French soil.
Serbia has only won one of its last six international games, going down 2-0 to Spain in St Gallen on Saturday.
- The White Eagles' last game against France saw two red cards, shown to Hugo Lloris and Danko Lazovic.
- Serbia's players have just 23 international goals between them, six of those from Branislav Ivanovic.
Top 3 Predictions
France 2-0 Serbia
- 14.57 %
France 2-1 Serbia
- 14.5 %
France 3-1 Serbia
- 12.02 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||May 31, 2012||France 2 - Serbia 0|
|WCQ 2014 (UEFA) (WCQE)||Sep 9, 2009||Serbia 1 - France 1|
|WCQ 2014 (UEFA) (WCQE)||Sep 10, 2008||France 2 - Serbia 1|
|Mar 5, 2014||France 2 - Netherlands 0||FR|
|Nov 19, 2013||France 3 - Ukraine 0||WCQE|
|Nov 15, 2013||Ukraine 2 - France 0||WCQE|
|Oct 15, 2013||France 3 - Finland 0||WCQE|
|Oct 11, 2013||France 6 - Australia 0||FR|
|-||Hatem Ben Arfa|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed